1st GotPassport Poll: Insurance Coverage for Your Auto Rental?


Hey, it’s Thrifty Thursday at the GotPassport Blog, and I was thinking about our  “one way” road trip from Texas to California last year (so strange to say that), from which we departed via LAX to Chiang Mai.  Every time we rented a vehicle, I get into a quandary as to how I should insure the rental… So, instead of paying the seemingly expensive liability coverage fees from the rental car company, I chose to go with our own auto insurance policy’s coverage, to save money (remember, we’re thrifty).  I learned that we had a $1,000 deductible on our policy, and figuring that I’ve had a PERFECT track record of NEVER damaging a rental vehicle (included driving passenger vans in Mexico!), it seemed like a good gamble, and we’d save a lot of money, since our rental period was about 2 weeks.

But before I continue my dramatic recount of the car rental story, please answer this simple poll question:

I thought it would be a good time to use the WordPress “Poll” feature.  Please offer your choice below:

My story, after the break:

Well, you can probably guess what happened, but not HOW…  With just a couple of days left of the road trip, while visiting family in Las Vegas, I (can’t blame the child on this one) was attempting the very risky maneuver of backing out of a driveway, when I backed into the HOUSE!  Yes, it’s not everyday that I hit a home with a Toyota RAV4 (Great road trip car, by the way, deserves a tech review…but I digress)… You know that sinking feeling when you’ve just done the most boneheaded thing… Yeah, that’s the one I was feeling…Bad Bubba…

Well, the estimate of the damages came a few weeks later (we were in Thailand already) and the bill was just below the $1,000 deductible, which means we needed to pay it in full.  Dang.  Then I realized that we paid for the rental with our platinum mastercard ,and after reading their policy statement, it seemed that their ‘secondary’ coverage ‘should’ pay for everything not covered by the primary insurance.  Yes!  We were covered, right??

Wrong.  Apparently even the rental car people told me via email that Mastercard never pays in full (but Visa does), and comes up with ways (special fees) that aren’t ‘covered’ by the claim.   Even through email, I can tell the auto rental folks were rolling their eyes at my claim form, “No, NOT MASTERCARD!!”  So, what was supposed to be a routine claim process, ended up costing us 1/3 of the damages out of pocket, as MC only covered 2/3 of the bill.  I guess the optimist in Bubba would say, “Better than nothing, dude, you broke even if you had paid the liability offered by the rental company upfront…” but I was disappointed.  Also, should I have just paid the auto rental’s liability to begin with, just for the peace of mind?  The second-guessing continues….

Feel free to leave your advice and opinions on this topic below in the comments.  Look forward to hearing what you have to say…

Safe driving!

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4 thoughts on “1st GotPassport Poll: Insurance Coverage for Your Auto Rental?

  1. I don’t think you just broke even…I believe you are ahead of the game…Have you taken the Rental car’s coverage, you would have still had a deductible to pay, unless you had opted for full coverage, which taxes, etc…would have amounted to about $30/day…so if you run the figures, I figure you’re ahead of the game.

  2. I’ve had my issues with rentals and accidents. I was hit by someone in Thailand passing me as I was stopped with a long distance between me and him, signaling, then turning. Thai cops don’t assign blame (they said) and it was equal responsibility. Not picking up extra coverage meant we paid only if it was our fault and it was a max of 8000 baht (just under $300). Having declined the extra for YEARS, I figure I’ve broken even. Here’s how My Lucky Thai Car Accident happened.

    And on another occasion, I had to run off the edge of the road to avoid a head-on with a Jamaican pickup truck on a narrow road. A guy PASSING on a curve. I credit quick reflexes with avoiding the accident and keeping myself out of the ditch. Unfortunately, the sidewall of the tire was punctured by the raised edge of the asphalt. And insurance does NOT cover tires. As they told me later. If I had just hit the guy, it would have been covered. But the $50 tire? No, the insurance isn’t grateful it was so cheap. You’re on your own.

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